Monthly Archives:

May 2012

Roasted Asparagus Avocado Tartine

My friend sent me over a recipe that combined asparagus and avocado on bread, and I knew right away that was a combination I was going to use for the camp-out I was hosting this past Memorial Day weekend. I hadn’t ever thought of putting those two tasty green ingredients together, but the minute the marriage graced my ears, I was sold. I can really be sold on anything with avocado, and I figured my family and friends would agree.

The best part about summer is being able to wake up in the morning, walk out to the garden, and pick the food that’s going to end up in my stomach that very same day. Fortunately, the camp-out was held at what my friend’s call my mom’s “country castle”. Along with this bucolic kingdom comes a garden full of asparagus. I dream of the day I have an asparagus forest of my own and will be joining a community garden the minute my feet are permanently rooted in one city. But for now, luckily I have my mom’s garden to visit, which helps me yield incredibly fresh recipes like this.

If you’re attending a picnic/potluck anytime soon, this is a great way to utilize asparagus and one that will probably pleasantly surprise your friends. I’ve found that avocado and asparagus is a combination that works. I added Parmesan to give this recipe an extra kick of decadence and placed it on rye bread. If you won’t be eating these immediately after preparing, you may want to consider toasting the bread first.

Click here for recipe…

The Perfect Smoked Salmon Sandwich


Sometimes (well, actually, a lot of times) a satisfying meal can be made without much effort simply by having the right combination of ingredients on hand. For me, the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese is one of those meals.

If I’m eating in at a bagel joint, time and time again I’m bound to order the smoked salmon or lox option. It’s creamy. It’s chewy. It’s salty. It’s satisfying. It’s also a combination that’s easy to recreate at home, and by purchasing a few extra add-ons, like capers and arugula, you can essentially make yourself the “perfect” bagel sandwich.

There’s really not much to it. Just make sure you start with quality bagels. The better the bagel, the more sinful chewing you’ll get to do. “Everything” are my favorite because not only do you get to have the best of so many bagel worlds, but the sesame and onion are ideal compliments of salmon. For the cream cheese, I go with whipped because the airiness works well with the dense salmon. Chive cream cheese is also a nice choice. The arugula helps to cut the saltiness while adding flavor without any of the wateriness that lettuce might add. Dill also keeps things fresh, while the onions and capers keep on packing in the flavor. And there you have the perfect sandwich, requiring nothing more than a few ingredients and some novice positioning skills.

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Honey Oat Muffins

I once won $30 from Amazon and proceeded to put the money towards a salad spinner.

“Why would you waste your money on a silly gadget like that?” my then roommate asked me.

My parents own a salad spinner and it has always been one of my favorite kitchen conveniences. Who likes a soggy salad? I never could convince my roommate of its importance, but then again, she always tried to convince me that food processors were pointless too. Sorry, but with the amount of hummus I churn out of my kitchen, a blender just won’t cut it.

Lately, my salad spinner has proved to be even more important, as its outer layer has become my primary mixing bowl when baking. If nothing else, college teaches you how to improvise, especially when you’re a cook in an ill-equipped kitchen.

Improvise, I did not when it came to this recipe. For once, I had all of the ingredients for a last minute recipe that sparked my interest. A list of healthy components put together by a guest chef of the White House, I knew this one would be a winner.

Just slightly sweet with a flavor that almost reminds me of corn bread (although there’s no semblance of corn in here), these are the perfect breakfast or snack, served warm with a smear of butter. Enjoy.

Click here for recipe…

Mango Lassi

Mango lassis were the milkshakes of my childhood. From time to time, I’d be taken out for an ice cream cone after a sporting event or other such activity, but I don’t think I slurped down my first real milkshake until I hit high school. However, whenever dining out at an Indian restaurant, one of my mom’s favorite cuisines, she nearly always let my brother and I ruin our appetites with a mango lassi. Mangoes were always my favorite fruit as a kid, but I rarely ever got more than a slice on the occasion that we’d split a fresh one between our family at breakfast. So getting treated to a mango lassi always felt like winning a glass of gold.

Even though now I’ll sometimes eat a whole mango to myself (oh, the luxury), a lassi still feels like gold. Smooth and creamy with hints of coconut, there’s really no way you can go wrong with this drink. In fact, I’d prefer a mango lassi any day to a traditional milkshake. It’s the kind of milkshake you want to wake up to alongside a bowl of oatmeal. And it’s also the kind you want to cap off your night with after a nice Indian meal. Just a handful of ingredients sent to the blender, and you can easily make this glass of gold in your very own kitchen. Enjoy.

Click here for recipe…

Strawberry Oatmeal Delight

The first fresh, locally grown strawberry of the season is always an exciting time. I have many fond memories as a kid of red covered hands and knees and blue buckets brimming with berries, picking for hours under the morning sun with my mom. I still continue to look forward to these family outings every late spring and still continue to fill my belly fuller than my bucket as the first hour goes underway.

However, I often get a little antsy during the weeks that lead up to the juicy, sweet bonanza in the local scene. As my eyes scan over the plastic containers of bright, California-born strawberries at the store, I often end up with one of them in my basket as I head for the checkout line. They’re never as tasty as the in-season ones hanging out in the teal, cardboard quarts, but when those jumbo berries go on sale, I can never help myself.

Always a little less sweet and juicy, pre-local berries are best for recipes like this. Sure, they’re still tasty straight out of the carton, but cooked into oatmeal with a little maple syrup, and you could almost forget they weren’t self-picked straight from the vine. This is one of my favorite breakfasts once on-sale strawberries hit the stores, and of course, the recipe is still fantastic once those local berries do finally start ripening to perfection.

Click here for recipe…

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